tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 11, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EDT
this. i think you probably know better than anyone that is happening in pakistan today. it's not one heck of a today than a knock out drag out fight in the presidential season. pakistan is suffering that same thing. so the smallest thing gets blown up to a bigger than proportion event political event in pakistan that causes them to make bad decision business full cooperation with the hundreds we're going to try to help them get through that, if we can. >> well, regrettably we've run out of time. the council has asked me to mention on friday the next event will be the ceo on the volkswagen group, jonathan browning. i want to thank the chairman for a fascinating hour. i think we all benefited very much. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. that was great. [applause]
[inaudible conversations] >> the health and intelligence committee chair mike rogers heading over to capitol hill the for a moment to join his colleagues on the hill as the house and senate starts businesses. today's business includes completion of an offshore permits and drilling bill. also today a measure to expand deep water oil and gas exploration. you can see the house live on our companion network, c-span. the senate comes in at 9:30 eastern for speeches. lawmakers will consider a judicial nomination later this afternoon and we'll have the senate live for you as always
here on c-span2. elsewhere on capitol hill, the house arms services committee will hear testimony today on the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization. members are marking up that bill today and you can see that live starting at 10:00 am eastern on our companion network, c-span3. >> calvin coolidge and how he evolved into a popular political figure. a look back of jimmy carter and his handling of the energy crisis of the 1970s. and the long-term restoration of the treasury building. >> the c-span networks, we provide coverage of politics,
public affairs, nonfiction books and american history. it's all available to you on television, radio, online and on social media networking sites and find our content anytime through c-span video library. and we take c-span on the road with our digital bus and local content vehicle, bringing our resources to your community. it's washington your way. the c-span networks now available in more than 100 million homes created by cable, provided as a public service. >> yesterday, both vice president joe biden and secretary of state hillary clinton directly expressed u.s. concerns about the human rights situation in china. they spoke at the start of the annual economic and strategic dialog between the two countries. treasury secretary tim geithner this week will be urging china to be allowing its currency to increase in value a move that makes u.s. exports cheaper in that country. this is about a half hour. >> good afternoon.
i want to begin by thanking our chinese colleagues led by vice premier wang and state counselor dy and the entire chinese delegation for a productive and comprehensive dialog between us. and i also, along with secretary geithner, want to thank everyone on the american side, not just those from the state department or treasury, but indeed from across our government. the unprecedented level of involvement and the extraordinary work that has taken place since our last sned in beijing which truly impressed us. the strategic and economic dialogtins to grow broader and deeper. it reflects the complexity and the importance of our bilateral
relationship. and we have covered a lot of ground together and i'm happy to report we have made a lot of progress. the list of agreements and understandings reached is quite long. we have seen concrete progress on a wide range of shared challenges from the energy and environment to international trade and security. for example, there is now a new partnership that will bring u.s. and chinese companies and universities together. those which are developing innovative environmental technologies will now be working binationally and with local governments and ngos to promote sustainable development projects such as next generation batteries for electric cars and new clean air and water
initiatives. already tulane university in new orleans and east china normal university are collaborating to improve the conservation of wetlands. and we have seen many other examples. we're also laying the groundwork for potentially significant future collaboration on development, from working together to innovate and distribute clean cook stoves and fuels to strengthening public health systems in developing countries. and our people to people programs continue to expand, most notably our 100,000 strong student exchange initiative which has already raised the stated goal of dollars to go along with the very generous chinese government support for 20,000 american students because
all of us are committed to increase more people to people interactions and opportunities. now, i am well aware that these specific and very substantive partnerships may not produce major headlines. but i think they do reflect our shared commitment to translate the high level sentiments and rhetoric of these diplomatic encounters to real world benefits for our citizens, our countrys, and the wider world. just as important, although perhaps even harder to quantify, are the habits of cooperation and mutual respect that we form through these discussions. we believe that to keep our relationship on a positive path, as foreseen by presidents obama and hu, the united states and
china have to be honest about our differences and address them forthrightly. at the same time we are working together to expand the areas where we cooperate and narrow the areas where we diverge. and we are building up a lot more understanding and trust. so we discussed everything. and whether it was something that was sensitive to us or sensitive to them, all the difficult issues including human rights, and we both have made our concerns very clear to the other. we had candid discussions on some of our most persistent challenges from addressing north korea and iran to rebalancing the global economy. we agreed on the importance of cooperating in afghanistan of common goals of political
stability and economic renewal. we established a u.s.-china consultation on the asia pacific region where we share a wide range of common interests and challenges. and for the first time in these dialogs, senior military and defense leaders from both sides sat down face-to-face in an effort to further our understanding to develop, trust and avoid misunderstandings that can lead to dangerous miscalculations. this new strategic security dialog is a very important step forward and we think it will add measurably to our bilateral relationship. as we have discussed these issues and as we have committed to keeping the relationship moving forward, we have some milestones ahead of us.
for the first time, president obama plans to participate in this year's east asia summit. and vice president biden will travel to china this summer, continuing our discussions on the full range of shared regional and global challenges. and he hopes to return the hospitality by inviting the president to the united states. i look forward to see the partners in asean, both the secretary and i are to hosting aipac in hawaii. those are just a few highlights. day-to-day at every level of our governments we are working hard to build that positive cooperative comprehensive relationship that our two
presidents have asked for. this is the long, hard unglamorous work of diplomacy. at our plenary sessions that state counselor dy and i chaired yesterday, there was a dizzying array of issues that we are working on together. and i felt very satisfied because that was not the case two years ago. and i anticipate that we are going to see further progress because we want to realize the full promise of our partnership. and we very fervently want to leave a more prosperous world for our children and our childr children's children. and as we move forward on our
journey together in the future. now i'm pleased to turn to my colleague and partner, secretary geithner. >> thank you, secretary clinton. let me outline the highlights of our discussions on the economic side. we had a very comprehensive discussion about a full range of economic issues between us and facing the global economy. as always, we reviewed the major risk and challenges to our -- to growth domestically to china and the united states. and we talked about the major risks and challenges on the global economic front. we talked about the investment climate in both countries. we talked about energy policy, financial reform, very comprehensive discussions and we benefited on the u.s. side and the chinese side from an exceptionally talented and very senior delegation of financial experts, members of the cabinet, regulators, et cetera and that's very important. now, our three-key objectives on
the u.s. side were first to encourage the ongoing transformation of the chinese economy away from its export dependent growth model of the past to a more balanced growth strategy by domestic demand. so encourage chinese to level the competitive playing field between the u.s. and chinese companies, both in china and around the world and to strengthen our engagement on china on reform issues in both countries. now, we have made very, very significant progress in our economic relationship over the past two years. our exports to china reached $110 billion last year and are growing about 50% faster than our exports to the rest of the world and those exports are in all the things americans create and build, from agriculture, all structures of manufacturing, services and advanced technology and they support hundreds of
thousands of jobs across the united states. now, overall, we are seeing very promising shifts in the direction of chinese economic policy. first, on the exchange rate, since last june as you know, the chinese currency has appreciated against the dollar by more than 5%. and at an annual rate of about 10% when you take into account the fact that chinese inflation is significantly faster than that of the united states. we hope that china moves to allow the exchange rate to appreciate more rapidly and more broadly against the currencies of all its trading partners. and this adjustment, of course, is critical not just to china's ongoing efforts to contain the inflationary pressures and to manage the risks that capital inflows bring to credit and asset markets but also to encourage this broad shift to a gross strategy led by domestic
demand. china has outlined in its five-year plan a comprehensive set of reforms again to shift its growth strategy on one relying on exports to domestic demand. and china has joined a broad commitment with other countries in the g20 to put in place mechanisms to reduce the risk that we see once again the emergence of large external imbalances that could threaten the future stability and future growth. this process is going to take time and, of course, it's going to require a sustained effort of reform, but it of course is essential to the future health of the global economy and the trajectory of future growth in china. again, we're seeing progress here, too, if you just step back and look, china's current account surpluses as a percent of gdp peaked at about at the point -- 10% of the crisis and we would like to see that progress sustained. that takes me on the third at her which is how to create a more level playing field.
in our meetings over the last few days, we've seen some very important steps towards that goals. and let me just review a few of them. first, china committed to making long-term improvements in its high level protection of intellectual property rights and enforcement regime to strengthen the inspection of government software and use at all levels of government and this will help protect u.s. innovators as well as chinese innovators in all industries not just in software and i think that's very important. china has confirmed that it will no longer employ government procurement preferences for indigenous innovation products. at any level of government. and this is important to make sure u.s. technology, u.s. firms can compete fairly for business opportunities in china. china is committed to increase
transparency so again that u.s. firms all foreign firms have the chance to see those informations -- see those regulations and draft anticipate of the opportunity for input just as their chinese counterparts do. china and the united states recognizing the importance of transparency and fairness in export credit policies have agreed to undertake discussions on export on the terms of our respective export credit policies, and this is important, of course, because china by some measures is the largest provider of export credit in the world. and finally, we've been discussing with our chinese authorities the important objective of how to make sure that companies in china that compete with standard enterprises are not put at a broader disadvantage. final focus of our discussions on the economic side was china's ongoing financial reforms to create a more open, more flexible, more dynamic, more developed financial system. and these reforms which are
designed to increase the returns to sabers to further develop china's equity and bond markets and to expand opportunities for foreign financial institutions in china are very important and very promising. not just, of course, in expanding opportunities for u.s. institutions but also re-enforcing this broad shift in strategy by the chinese government towards the growth strategy led by domestic demand. now, when president hu visited washington in january, president obama described the evolution of our relationship as, quote, a healthy competition that spurs both countries to innovate and become even more competitive. and, of course, just as china faces significant economic challenges at home we have our challenges in the united states, too. and we are working very hard not just to repair the damage caused by this financial crisis but to make sure that as we restore fiscal responsibility, as we return to living within our means as a country, we're making sure we preserve the capacity to invest in things that are going
to be critical to the future strength of the american economy. and i can say based on the strength of our conversations and the strength of this emerging relationship, that this economic relationship with china will continue to agree, continue to deepen and continue to provide tremendous opportunities for both nations, and you see today concrete, tangible signs of progress on both sides that underscore that commitment of both our presidents. in conclusion, i just want to end where secretary clinton began which is to thank the delegations on both sides, both brought a directness and candor and greater openness that we've seen in the past. and i want to express my personal gratitude to vice premier wang for his leadership in these discussions and to compliment him for the very substantial changes he's already been able to bring about. thank you very much.
>> premier wang [speaking foreign language] >> translator: under the guidance of president hu jintao and president obama, the u.s.-china strategic on economic dialogs has been a greatly success. the essential mission of our economic dialog is to implement the important agreement reached between the two presidents during president hu jintao's recent visit to the united states this past january and to implement the building of china-u.s. comprehensive and mutual beneficial economic partnership. we had in-depth discussions overamping strategic issues in plans with economic cooperation. and secretary geithner and i signed a u.s.-china comprehensive framework promoting strong sustainable
economic growth. and the two countries will carry out expanded closer and more extensive economic cooperation. we agree that in today's extremely complex economic environment, our two nations should further step up macroeconomic policy coordination and the communication and contribute to steady and economic sound in both countries. we discussed the implications of u.s. the crisis and the nuclear endeavor triggered by the japan earthquake, the turbulence in the middle east for the global economy. we highlight the international community issued and work together to ensure strong and world economic recovery to effectively have a reform of global economic structure, to gradually build a fair and reasonable international economic order. the two sides agree that in the transformation of our respective gross models and the economic
restructuring, we will use respective strength and expanded cooperation and how the structure programs and the green economy and the size of technology innovation and expand binational and cooperative of exchanges and cooperation. we highlight our commitment to build a more open trade and investment system. the united states commits to china fair treatment in the reform of its export control scombreem relaxed exports control towards china and to consult through the jcct to work towards china in a comprehensive manner and there will be strength and cooperation in bilateral treaty negotiation and at irp protection, food, safety and protect equality. we will reject trade and investment protectionism. we also had in depth discussions
of financial cooperation and agreed to strengthen information-sharing and cooperation regarding the regulation of systematically important financial institutions, shadow banking business, credit rating agencies, the reform remuneration policy and the illegal financing and advance the financial architecture reform. the united states welcome back chinese financial institutions between america and recognize china's progress in the ratio, comprehensive integration. the united states commits to further enforce strong supervision of government-sponsored enterprises and to make sure they have enough capital to fuel the financial obligations. knowing myself and each other is important requisite for cooperation. in the economic dialog we increased the mutual understanding and consensus and reached outcomes and this will give a strong boost to the
china-u.s. comprehensive partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. i thank you, everyone. and i would like to thank secretary geithner and secretary clinton and the u.s. team for all the work you have done for a successful economic dialog. thank you. [speaking in native tongue] >> translator: my dear friends from the press, it's a great pleasure to meet with you once again. the china-u.s. strategic and economic dialog have already completed its through-round and we invite friends from the media to come here for a successful conclusion and so i would like to thank you. this round of dialog was held as president hu jintao paid a
successful visit to the united states and they agreed to be based on the mutual respect and benefit. i want to tell you the following. first, on the strategic track, secretary clinton and i focused on the agreement of our two leaders. and exchanged views on how to view a china-u.s. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. we had in-depth and practical exchange of views. our dialog covered many issues including china-u.s. bilateral relations. major issues, internationally and regionally. and we had a good conversation. we agreed that we must act in accordance with the state of the
china-u.s. state. and have exchanges at higher levels, have closer dialog on international and regional issues and to further increase our people to people exchange. we should have an outcome list of the strategic track which covered energy, environmental technology, transport forestry and climate change cooperation. i said we had a good conversation, and i did that mean that we agreed on each and every issue. however, after each round of dialogs, we successfully -- successfully expanded our mutual understanding and increased our mutual trust and our cooperation. and this has added to our
confidence of further developing our bilateral relations in the nut second, most agreed that we must increase our strategic mutual trust and deepen our practical cooperation. the u.s. reaffirmed that it welcomes a strong and a prosperous china that plays a greater role in international affairs and it does not seek to contain china. it respects china's interests. and both sides read from their commitment -- the chinese side reafirms their commitment of peaceful development and will not challenge the united states' interests. a china-u.s. strategic dialog is a very important outcome of this dialog. we agreed to hold this dialog within the framework of the strategic dialog and held its
first round of meetings this morning and the china-u.s. dialog will be continued to be held in the future. we also talked about further deepening our bilateral cooperation and foster new areas of cooperation and make our pie of our common interests bigger and more tasteful. thirdly, we agreed that we will work together in the asia pacific region so that we can better coordinate with each other and better interact with each other in the asia pacific. we agreed that asia pacific is broad enough to accommodate the interests of china and of the united states. we must work together in this region, work together with other countries in this region to uphold peace, stability in the asia pacific and to promote the sustained prosperity of the asia pacific and achieve the common development of all countries in this region so that the pacific ocean will become a peaceful
one. we agreed that we will set up a consultation mechanism for the asia pacific region. >> we're leaving these remarks from secretary of state clinton, treasury secretary tim geithner and the chinese state counselor on u.s.-china relations to go live this morning to the u.s. senate. lawmakers are beginning the day with general speeches and later they'll consider a judicial nomination. this is live coverage on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to or. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, ruler of history and the nations, we praise you,
we adore you, we magnify your holy name. may your presence be felt in our midst today guiding our thoughts and ordering our steps. permit the members of this body to receive a fresh awareness of who you are and what you desire for them to do. lord, the challenges they face are so great that they need your wisdom to meet them. use our senators this day so that your will may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. let your peace come to them as they commit their
responsibilities to you and then work with your guidance and grace. we pray in your sacred name. amen. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., may 11, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten e. gillibrand, a senator from the state of new york, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore.
the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following any leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 2:00 p.m. today. the republicans will control the first 30 minutes and the majority will control the next 30 minutes. following any leader remarks, the senate will be in executive session to consider the nomination of andrea wright allen to be the judge of the eastern district of virginia. so at approximately 3:00 p.m. we will vote on the confirmation of the allen confirmation. there's a special caucus at the white house this afternoon and, therefore, we're going to close early today. the republicans will have their meeting at the white house tomorrow. madam president, s. 940 is at the desk and due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the presiding officer: s. 940, a
bill to reduce the federal budget deficit by closing big oil tax loopholes and for other purposes. mr. reid: madam president, i would object to any further proceedings with respect to this bill at this time. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the measure will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: madam president, i recognize that we're in a partisan environment. and in a partisan there is temptation to turn every issue into a political issue. we certainly live in one of those environments today, and that's regrettable, but far from unfamiliar. politics play a role in our representative government and of course they as you have. founders created a system of checks and balances, three branches of government, for example, and two chambers of the congress because they anticipated this. they wanted to keep us from losing our way. long after that system was
created new independent federal agency was created in the same spirit of checks an balances. that agency is the national labor relations board. it acts as a check on employers an employees alike. it safeguards employees' rights to unionize or not unionize. it mediates allegations of unfair labor and it does it outside any independent, the acting general counsel is a man who is as nonpartisan and independent as the agency he work for. last week they issued a complaint against boeing. the complaint alleges after boeing workers in some states went on strike, the company retaliated while opening a new production line in a nonunion facility. that kind of retaliation is illegal. that's just the background. i'm not here to judge the merits of the case. in fact, i'm here to do the exact opposite. to remind the senate that prejudging the case is not our
job. that would overstep long established values and weaken the system of checks and balances. lately though. so our republican colleagues have attacked the nlrb and tried to poison the decision process. for example, every republican senator on the "help" committee, and, madam president, let's remind everyone the l in help stands for labor, they sent a letter to the acting general counsel defending boeing. the letter itself was sent six weeks before a hearing takes place seems questionable at the very best. but these 10 republicans went further. they went out of their way to link their request to the acting general counsel's pending nomination. if there were ever a case of intimidation, that sounds like it to me. that's not all. eight state attorney general all republicans all signed a letter to the acting general counsel calling on him to withdraw the
complaint on boeing. again, long before an administrative judge has had an opportunity to look at the case. i strongly encourage all of them to take a step back, my republican colleagues on the "help" committee and these attorneys general. we all know that republicans dislike organized labor. we know they disdain unions because unions demand fairness and equality from big businesses. so let's be honest, republicans are threatened by unions. they're threatened because when a large organized group is so concerned with workers' rights, the members of that group vote in large numbs and because republicans and big -- numbers and bus republicans and big businesses they defend take away workers rights. this kind of interference is inappropriate, it's disgraceful and dangerous. we wouldn't allow threats to prosecutors or u.s. attorneys trying to stop them from moving forward with charges they see fit to bring to the courts and
we shouldn't stand for this. it may not be illegal, but it's no better than the retaliation and intimidation and it's the fundamental question in this case and should stop. we need agencies like the nlrb to be able to operate freely and without political pressures. we need to keep our independent agencies independent. in this case it's for home to decide not for us to decide. would the chair now announce morning business. the presiding officer: under the believes order -- previous order the senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only until 2:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each with the first hour equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first 30 minutes and the majority controlling the next 30 minutes. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: yesterday tcts unveiled -- democrats unveiled another attempt to slow american energy production this time through a tax hike on american energy. they acknowledged, however, this will not lower the price of gas and they're right. the congressional research service tells us that raising taxes on american energy will do
two things, it will increase the price of gas and it will increase our dependence on foreign competitors. by taxes american energy production, they're also outsourcing american jobs. so let me get this straight, higher gas prices, fewer american jobs and more dependence on foreign competitors at the expense of american energy? that's their plan? no thank you. now, madam president, on another issue, i was happy to see the number two democrat in the house yesterday take a stand against the president's proposed executive order, a proposal dice guised as increase -- disguised as increased transparency which would allow the administration to review a company's political
donation before deciding whether to award a federal contract. that's right, the administration would be able to review a company's political donations before deciding whether to give them a federal contract. here's how he put it, this is the number two democrat in the house." the white house plan to require contractors to disclose political contributions could politicize the bidding process and undermine its integrity." now, similar efforts have already been rejected by the supreme court, the federal election commission and the congress during the last session of the congress, and now there is a bipartisan opposition to the administration's executive order. now, the white house is spending spending -- spinning this as -- quote -- "reform," end quote, claiming the american people have a right to know how taxpayer money is being used by
contractors. however, the proposed executive order could disclose allies, including federal employ labor unions, environmental groups and of course planned parenthood. as i've said, no white house, no white house should be able to review your political party affiliation before deciding if you're worthy, worthy of a government contract, and no one should have to worry about whether their political support will determine their ability to get or to keep a federal contract or to keep a job. the issuing of contracts by the federal government should be based on the contractor's merits, bids and capabilities. under no condition, no condition should political contributions play a role in that decision. however, the white house draft executive order makes it crystal clear that if you want to do business with the government,
you'll want to do business with the government, you can't contribute to the republicans. as senator collins recently pointed out, this executive order would basically repeal the hatch act and inject politics back into the procurement process. this is simply unacceptable. democracy is compromised when individuals and small businesses fear reprisal or expect favor from the federal government as a result of their political associations. so the recent press reports about this unprecedented executive order raises troubling concerns about an effort to silence or intimidate political adversaries' speech through the government contracting system. the white house still has an opportunity to not go forward with this, and you can rest assured we will be watching very, very closely. because the proposed effort would represent an outrageous, a truly outrageous and antidemocratic abuse of
executive branch authority. now, it's my sincere hope that recent reports of the draft executive order was simply the work of a partisan within the obama administration and not the position taken by the president himself. he should state his position. mr. president, we're waiting for your response. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, since i first came to the congress back in 1997 as a freshman member of the house of representatives, i have been talking about spending and debt,
deficits, and that was a key central element of my campaign for my first election to the house of representatives way back in the day, and of course at that time the numbers were a lot less daunting than they are today. if you look at just even where we were 15 years ago in relative terms, the point at which we find ourselves today is almost overwhelming, and the debt now is over $14 trillion. we're being asked to raise the debt ceiling even further, and i would argue, madam president, that we can no longer afford to put these hard decisions off, because these are serious times and these call for serious solutions and serious leadership, and i hope that we are up to that task. for a long time, we thought that debts and spending and deficits and all those sorts of things could be acceptable up to a certain level, and i suppose to some degree that's true. historically, if you look at our country in terms of revenue and
spending, we have had consistently over time a certain amount of debt that we carry. but i think by any stretch, any american, any economist, anybody who watches this closely has to recognize that the situation in which we find ourselves today is really unprecedented in american history and cries out for action and immediate action and bold action. and this is something i would argue that my constituents are very concerned about, i think all americans are very concerned about because, again, if you look at it in relative terms, where we are today, $14 trillion in accumulated debt and you go back in the annals of history and look at from the formation of this country back in the late 1800's until 1849, our federal government spent, if you can imagine this, only about about $1 billion over that 60-year time period. and so today, we will borrow borrow $4 billion, between today
at 9:50 and this time tomorrow at 9:50, our federal government will borrow $4 billion. which to put that into perspective, madam president, suggests that we will borrow in the next 24 hours more than four times what we spent in our first 60 years as a nation. now, in fact, in 1835 under president andrew jackson, the government debt for the only time in our nation's history was completely paid off. since that time, our debts have been large and small with large runups of debt during times of war while the debt largely declined during times of peace. never, though, did our debts top even 50% of our entire economy of our g.d.p. until the great depression. at the end of world war ii, debt topped 120% of g.d.p., but in the postwar period, debt steadily declined as a percentage of our economy, attributable to a couple of factors. one was strong economic growth and the second was a government that managed to keep spending
relatively low. when you look at the post-world war ii time period and you get into the 1960's and you reach that end of the 1960's and that time period to 2008, from 1969-2008, government spending consumed on average about 20.6% of our entire economy, while taxes during that time period of our economy were about 18% of our economy. that balance led to a sizable but manageable national debt, debt held by the public just before this president took off was $6.3 trillion. now, to put it into perspective, during the previous 40 years, the budget was balanced on five occasions. so if you look back in the last 40 years of our nation's history, there were five occasions on which we were able to balance the budget. in each of these years -- and those were 1969, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 -- spending was
below the historical average. in 1969, spending was just 19.4% of our g.d.p. in 1998, it was 19.1% of our g.d.p. in 1999, it was 18.5% of g.d.p. and in 2000 and 2001, it was only 18.2% of our g.d.p. and so when we look at the years when our budget was balanced, madam president, spending averaged just under 18.7% of g.d.p. so what are we set to spend this year? 24.3% of our g.d.p. an astonishing 30% more than we have spent historically when our budget was balanced. and our debt held by the public at the end of this year will be nearly double what it was when this president took office. so how do we get to such a high level of spending? well, to be fair, madam president, i think you would have to say that some of this is
attributable to the economic downturn, obviously tax receipts, revenues are down as a consequence of the economy being in a recession. we also have the ongoing conflicts in iraq and afghanistan which have been expensive and obviously have required a large commitment of resources in order to conduct the operations that are necessary for success there, but i would argue also, madam president, that a substantial, a substantial chunk is due to the spending spree that congress has been on since 2008. between 2008-2010, spending on nondefense discretionary programs went up more than 20%, even though inflation over that same time period was around 2%. when you add in what eventually the bailouts of fannie mae and freddie mac are going to cost, which will be hundreds of billions of dollars, that adds significantly to the debt. and of course the stimulus boondoggle costs us over
over $800 billion in the short term. when you add in the interest costs that are associated with that, it will be over a trillion dollars, which was all borrowed, borrowed money from our children and grandchildren. and you look at the percentage, as i said before, of spending a trillion dollars literally on that one program, that one policy, the stimulus program that went into effect a couple of years ago, that's literally 1,000 times more than what we spent as a nation in our first 60 years of its existence. and if we look at the projections included in the president's budget, it's revealing that it never balances, and that's due entirely, madam president, to spending. spending under the president's budget never falls below 23% of our entire economy of our g.d.p., and after 2015, it grows, there isn't a single year when the spending does not grow as a share of our economy. so you have got this constant
growth and spending, overall spending as a percentage of our g.d.p. that is way beyond the norm if you look at any sort of historical average. so when the president submitted his initial budget to the congress, we were all hopeful i think that it would demonstrate an acknowledgment that he gets it, that he understands the dimensions of this problem and how serious our fiscal and financial straits are, but the budget that he submitted to congress a few months ago actually increased spending over the ten-year time period, massively increased the debt and raised taxes on our small businesses at a time when, as i said earlier, we are hoping to get the economy growing and expanding again, and that helps address many of the problems that i just mentioned. but you can't have economic growth when you're raising taxes on the job creators in our economy, which is our small businesses. and i would argue that the two things that are going to be necessary for us to get our economy back on track and to address this issue of spending and this out-of-control debt is to get spending under control, to make the hard decisions that
have been put off for far too long, and secondly to put policies in place that will enable and create the conditions for economic growth and job creation. well, if you look at what the current administration is doing in terms of policies, what i hear in my state of south dakota as i travel from small businesses, i hear it from agricultural producers, is that almost at every turn, they are facing new regulations, new policies coming out of washington that not reduce the cost of doing business but actually increase the cost of doing business and drive down their margins, making it more difficult for them to invest capital, to hire new people and to get this economy growing and expanding again. and there are numerous examples of that. we have a number of agencies that are just issuing, promulgating regulations, pursuing an aggressive agenda, much of which can't be accomplished here in congress because there are not the votes in the congress to accomplish much of that agenda, and so the
administration has decided by just sort of executive power grab to try and accomplish much of that agenda. well, as i said before, most of those policies are things that make it more expensive to do business in this country, are going to make it more difficult for our small businesses to get back on track. i mentioned the tax increases the president has proposed, consistently proposed, not only in the budget that he released to the congress several months ago but more recently a couple of weeks back when he came out with his sort of new, improved budget, still loaded up with tax increases on small businesses, the very opposite of what you would want to do if you want to encourage small businesses to invest and create jobs. the economic uncertainty that's created by tax policies that are not permanent, that expire in a couple of years, the economic uncertainty created by not knowing what the next regulation coming out of washington, d.c., is going to do to your bottom line is all creating an anxiety out there among investors in this country and keeping a lot of the capital that otherwise would be put to work and
deployed in creating jobs on the sidelines. so if you look at just a few examples, the e.p.a. is probably the most notable one, but that's the one i hear the most about. it doesn't matter whether i'm talking to a small business group or whether i'm talking to farmers and ranchers. consistently, they say these regulations coming out of washington, d.c. -- and specifically in this case, most of them are referring to policies that are coming out of the e.p.a. -- are making it very, very difficult for us to create jobs to put people back to work and to invest, reinvest in our businesses. and so you have the types of regulations that are coming out of these agencies. you also have, as i said, runup in costs associated with many of the policies that the congress has enacted, the spending and debt issues that have been created by the stimulus bill, the new health care bill, which when it's fully implemented will cost $2.5 trillion or
thereabouts but is going to pass on lots of new costs to businesses across this country, not only in the form of tax increases but also in the form of higher insurance rates which they are going to be looking at. i think you're going to see just a continued period where businesses in this country, small businesses, because of this economic uncertainty, continue to sit it out and don't do the things that are necessary to get people back to work and to deal with both high unemployment and also the issue of a sort of depressed economic downturn that is going to make it more difficult for us to -- to expand the economy and address this issue of increasing revenues at the federal level which will help solve the problem that we have with -- with the deficit and with our debt. another issue which i would mention which i think is significant right now in particular, but always is an issue with the people that i represent in south dakota is high energy costs. and the democrat prescription, the most recent one, is to tax energy companies. it strikes me at least if you want to get lower-cost energy,
one of the things you would not do is raise taxes, make it, again, more costly, more expensive for people to do business. if you look at again, the e.p.a., an attempt to regulate the greenhouse gases emissions has made it much more difficult for energy companies to get permits and the number of projects have been scratched across this country and i can think of a couple in my state of south dakota. but if you look at the fact that we can continue to get about 60% of our fuel from outside the united states literally sendin sending $1 billion a day to foreign countries because of our addiction to foreign energy, and you look at the policies here that we should be implementing if we were interested in getting to be energy independent and actually introduce more american energy, you find a complete contradiction between what the president and many of his allies say and what they do. they all talk about energy
independence, they talk about getting away from spending $1 billion a a day on foreign oil and the pistolsies tell another story. we are limiting even more the amount of area in this country that would be open to energy exploration and production. we have enormous resources here in the united states, oil and gas, clean coal, biofuels, all kinds of other things that we could gain access to, but right now we have energy policies, madam president, that seem more intent on concerned with some other agenda rather than energy independence. if you're really interested in energy independence, you would think that you would put policies in place that encourage the production of more american energy. and exactly the opposite is occur. we've got more and more areas that have been taken off limits, public lands, we can't get to the outer continental shelf, we have a permitorium in the gulf,
we have alaska that has energy resources, much of it is off limits in this country and all that will continue to do is drive us into the arms of foreign countries, many of whom do not have the best interest of this country in mind and perhaps even worse fund organizations that plan attacks against the united states and our allies. and so it strikes me at least that if you're serious about getting deficits and debt under control, that one thing you would do is put policies in place that enable small businesses to do what they do best and that is to grow and create jobs, and, secondly, you would get constraints -- put constraints on federal spending near washington, d.c., so that -- here in washington, d.c., so that this issue that i mentioned earlier of consistent runup in the amount that we spend on our federal government as a percentage of our g.d.p. starts to not only taper off, but starts to come down there have been a number of suggestions made out there, perhaps no perfect one, but
perhaps people are taking a legitimate shot at trying to address this issue. there's a lot of discussion about the ryan budget passed by the house of representatives. of course that's already being immediately attacked and perhaps it isn't perfect, but it is a serious effort to control spending. now, the -- the only other suggestions that we've seen, as i mentioned, are some statements that have been made by the president about, you know, his -- his proposals, again, all of which increase taxes all of which increase spending and all of which add massively to the federal debt. it seems to me, madam president, we are not having a serious discussion about balancing our budget and paying off our debt, particularly, again, when you put into perspective where we are. between now and 10:00 tomorrow we will borrow another $4 billion, which, as i said before, i think it bears repeating, is literally four times the amount our entire country spent for the first 60 years of its existence.
$4 billion between now and this time tomorrow is amount that we will borrow. and we're being asked to raise the debt limit, the amount that we can borrow, essentially, raise the limit on our credit card in the next few weeks because we're up against that ceiling, we hit the max, we've capped out our ability to borrow money and we're going to be asked to make a vote to increase that borrowing authority. i don't think that could occur, honestly, madam president, until such time that we are willing to take the steps that are necessary to get this issue of spending under control. this is, by definition, a spending issue. now, a lot of people are going to argue we have to have tax increases, we have to have additional revenue, at the times that we balanced the tbhujt the last 40 years -- in the last 40 years, on those five occasions we were spending less than the average and in some cases
significantly less than our g.d.p. clearly a way to attack this issue is to get spending under control. that is going to require tough issues. what we've run into now is that we're out of road. we've come up to the cliff. we can't kick the can down the road any further. the road is at an end and we are up against some very serious impediments if we don't take the steps necessary to fix this problem. i'll mention again, when i talk about the seriousness of this and over the last few years we've all paid lip service to this issue of deficits and spending and debt, but i always maintain that you have to judge people not by what they say but what they do and how they vote. and we need to be on the record. we need to be debating this issue and as we get into the discussion over raising the debt limit, it creates an opportunity for both sides, for republicans and democrats, to come together behind a plan that will
meaningfully reduce spending in this country, that will deal with the issue of entitlement reform, which is going to be something desperately needed. we cannot solve this problem in the long term unless we address the issue of entitlement reform and really get some limits on spending that will be binding, that we can't get around. it's too easy around here to wave things, to declare it an emergency and continue to spend like there's no tomorrow. but these are serious times, madam president. they require serious leadership and serious solutions and that point is probably no better made than by the statements made by some of our leaders in this country. as we all know the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, has said before in testimony before congress that the greatest threat to america's national security is our national debt. i think that is a stunning and powerful statement about where we are in the -- and the importance of acting and acting now you had former federal reserve chairman, alan greenspan
say not too long ago that there is a 50% probability that we will face a debt crisis in the next two to three years and then, of course, you had standard & poors provide a negative assessment to our rating in this country. that is something we have not seen before. i hope if we're willing to take the steps necessary, that we can avoid our credit rating being downgraded. when you get an assessment like that, it is not too long that a downgrading follows. those aren't just anecdotal things, those are fact-based assessments and analysis of where we are. these are people who know the importance of dealing with these issues. we continue to borrow more and more money from other places around the world. and we continue to put our future at greater and greater risk and in greater jeopardy for our children and grandchildren if we're not willing to take the hard steps that are necessary.
and i will say, madam president, this will not be easy. there will be obviously political consequence to any decision we make here, but these decisions are going to be difficult because we have put them off for so long. but the easy decisions, the low-hanging fruit, it's no longer out there. we have to decide, are we going to continue to spend and spend and spend and borrow and borrow to the point where we head over that cliff because we've run out of road to kick the can down or are we going to make these hard decisions now and -- and get serious about providing a stronger and a better and a more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. we can't act like the federal government does not have a spending problem. those days are gone. we no longer have that luxury. and the numbers bear that out. and so we need to look at the debt limit -- the upcoming debt limit vote as an opportunity for republicans an democrats to come
together -- and democrats to come together behind a plan that will meaningfully address our spending problem. the status quo is not acceptable. it is going to require leadership from the president which, so far, as i said, has been nonexistent and i hope he will step forward. it will require leadership from democrats here in the senate. they control the agenda here. they have the majority. i hope that we do a budget this year. we didn't do a budget last year here in the senate and it's important that i think that we have that debate. the american people see us debating how we're going to spend their tax dollars. that's something that i think every american should expect and deserve from their elected leaders and i hope that we will have a budget markup in the near future here where we can get these issues out in front not only for us for discussion but also in front of the american people because this is their future that we are talking about and our failure to action -- our failure to act, if we don't act, we are putting in great jeopardy the future for our children and
grandchildren. and, so madam president, i wanted to just point out a little bit about i think where we've come from, where in my view, where we need to go if we're going to solve this problem, and i hope that my colleagues will join in that discussion not only just rhetorically, but that their actions will follow. again, we can't just talk about this. it's time for us to quit talking and to start acting. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. thune: madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. manchin: i ask to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. manchin: i rise today to speak about an issue that is directing impacting each and every family, not just in west virginia but throughout this whole country. it's the high gas prices. the truth is that in states all across this nation and particularly in west virginia, countless families have to drive to survive. for these families, a jump in the gas price isn't just an inconvenience or an annoyance. it's a threat that hits extremely hard in the pocketbook and could change their way of life. but as every american knows, the cycle of high gas prices is not a new member with any of us -- a new phenomenon with any of us. i stiller vividly remember waiting in line for gas in the early 1970's when gas was rationed by a license plate number, when we could buy gas. it's something i never thought could happen in america and i'm
sure those it happened to felt the same. this all came about because of our dependency on foreign oil. and if you think back to the early 1970's, we were 28% dependent on foreign oil, which we thought was a high number at that time, but today we're more than 50% dependent on a massive -- on foreign oil, which has caused a massive transfer of american wealth to countries that really don't like us that much and want to do us harm. we have seen this bad movie time and again, and yet somehow it seems that washington keeps thinking there is going to be a different outcome or different ending. the right ending will only come when our nation makes it a high priority to achieve energy independence within this generation. while crafting such a bold plan will be difficult, i recognize, and the special interests who oppose using our own resources like coal, natural gas and oil, and in an environmentally
responsible way will resist loudly, but we can no longer allow this nation and our hard-working families to be held hostage by high gas prices, and we can no longer allow partisanship in politics to undermine the common ground that can be achieved if we work together with one goal in mind -- true energy independence within this generation. let me make it perfectly clear, high gas prices are not the only high price we're paying as a nation. for decades, our brave men and women who serve us so well have been called to action. in defense of our vital interests and in the middle east and all around the world, thousands have been killed and injured. their families have suffered the incredible pain of loss. our nation has spent trillions in the course. and yet too many of these oil-rich countries have and will continue to use our dependence of their oil against us.
for all these reasons and for the sake of our national security, it's time for our nation to become truly energy independent within this generation. i believe that we can do it, and i know that we can because just this week in beautiful mingo county, west virginia, my state took a major step to confront our gas prices head on. on monday, west virginia said enough is enough. on a sunny morning in the town of gilbert, west virginia, i helped to break ground on a promising new project that could help bring down the crushing gas prices that our families are confronting. there, entrepreneurs and the state and local governments are participating to create hundreds of jobs at a coal to gasoline plant that is at the forefront of any technology in the world. the anticipated production of this plant is very impressive. it is projected to convert 7,500 tons of coal, west
virginia coal, into 756 gallons of premium gasoline each and every day, which can be used to run our cars and our trucks and even some of our military equipment. over a four-year construction period, it's estimated that 3,000 skilled trade workers, trade workers in america will be employed, and when the plant is finished, it is expected to create 300 direct jobs and hundreds more ancillary jobs in the community. in west virginia and mingo county, the government is acting as our partner and as a good partner, not an obstacle, and that is the role our federal government should be taking -- should take towards energy independence. this is exactly the kind of project that the federal government should work with us to make sure it succeeds. they should be our ally, not an obstacle or adversary. if my little state has the courage to step out and invest in our independence, then the
federal government should also have that courage to do the same. west virginians are sending the right message for this country. we will not let ourselves be held hostage by foreign countries who want to see the united states be financially crippled simply because those countries have oil. my state of west virginia also proves that we can and we must use all of our domestic resources to break our cycle of dependence on foreign oil within this generation. and it doesn't matter whether your state has oil, coal, natural gas, geothermal, nuclear, biomass, wind, solar or hydro because we have to harness all of the tremendous resources right here in america. or we're going to continue to rely on countries that have contributed directly or indirectly towards changing america for the worse. at the end of the day, it's going to take everything we can do and every resource we have to
become truly independent. that is one of the many reasons why i'm cosponsoring the american alternative fuels act with my colleague, john barrasso, from wyoming. among other things, the bill would break down barriers to alternative energy fuels, including those from coal, biomass, algae and waste. there are other smart targeted actions we can take in the short term to help reduce the price of gas for our families. i've signed on to an important piece of bipartisan legislation sponsored by my friend, senator herb kohl from wisconsin. it's nopec. this bill would finally allow the department of justice to go after foreign countries such as members of opec for antitrust violations because of their price -- their price-fixing behavior. the other major issue we must address now is speculators in oil company subsidies.
there's no lack of oil on the market. this is not a supply issue. the real problem is just pure greed of some who are taking advantage of the instability in our world to line their pockets on the backs of the american families, or a tax policy that just doesn't make any sense at all, that continues to subsidize oil companies when the price of a barrel of oil is at the highest it's ever been and the profits are at record high. this doesn't make any sense to american families. we're going to make more sense that these subsidies that they have now should only be available when the -- when the cost of production exceeds the price of a barrel of oil. that would be a commonsense solution. it would ensure the stability and steady production, and it doesn't force taxpayers to fill the bank accounts of major oil companies when they're already making record profits.
because we must do so much more to protect american families, i've also encouraged a commodity futures trading commission to take aggressive steps in the short term to regulate and pursue the oil speculators who are driving the price of a gallon of gas through the ceiling. while the most important thing our country can do is establish a national energy plan for independence, all of these actions are steps we can take to make sure that we relieve the financial pressures on our families and help secure our country. for all the wonderful families of west virginia and for the great people of the united states of america and of all of our children and grandchildren, this country must finally answer the call. it is time, madam president, it is truly time. it is time to free this nation, put politics aside, and work together to make energy independence a national priority.
i truly believe that if we work together as americans and focus on a commonsense approach that we can develop a strong bipartisan energy plan that will not only break the power of foreign oil countries and speculators but use the resources that we have right here in america. we can chart a new and promising energy future to this great nation, and we must start today. thank you, madam president, and i notice the absence of a quorum. mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, i want to thank the senator from west virginia for his comments on our dependence on foreign oil. we import about $1 billion worth of oil a day. that does not make our nation any stronger. in fact, it makes us more dependent, and for our economy to grow, we need to have good, home-grown energy sources. we may never be totally independent, but if we don't move toward intelligence, then i'm afraid we're going to continue to be victimized as we have been recently by not only oil companies but the greed that
you mentioned that drives up gasoline prices every spring just as sure as the baseball season is going to open, gasoline prices are going to go sky high, and then they're going to retreat back, but they never retreat back to where they started. they always end up higher as we go into the summer vacation season. the senator from west virginia has some thoughtful ideas for you on how to address this, and i share his -- his support of herb kohl's legislation, that deals with nopec, the opec cartel and the fact that we have been victimized by them for way too long. like your state, we have a lot of coal in illinois. we want to find an environmentally responsible way to use it, to take all of the energy out of the ground and to put it to work for america so americans can go to work. i thank you for your leadership on this important topic. madam president, closer to home in illinois, we are fighting the floods. it happens regularly, and we've had a tough time with it. the ohio river, the illinois river, the mississippi river have all been threatening
communities like metropolis and old shaunytown. i was down in cairo, illinois, a couple of weeks ago and saw how bad it was. it was a scary situation. the corps of engineers had a tough decision to make. they had to blow a levee to open up farm lands to be flooded. i said to general walsh when he was in the process of making the decision do what's right and i will stand by you. i know what i want you to do, but do what's right. i think he did the right thing and i stand by him. now i stand by those living in missouri who were affected by that decision. if they were in any way -- suffered hardship or inconvenience or loss of income as farmers, we need to stand by them as we do with so many across america in times of disasters. i know we have had a big challenge in our state. governor quinn and i were on the phone just the day before yesterday talking about the response. he was on his way down to metropolis. a mutual friend of ours, mayor billy mcdaniel down there, is
working with the county board chairman monty russell to find places for people to stay as they wait for the floodwaters to recede. other mayors are working with our office to make sure pumps and other supplies are there when they're needed. in cairo, we had a change in administration. i worked with judson chiles, the former mayor. he has been replaced by tyrone coleman. we'll continue to work with them. they have vacated a lot of homes. people are saying in gyms and other places and waiting for a chance to go back home, and we're going to do our best to make sure that happens. a special salute to our illinois national guard. these men and women come to the rescue of our state every time we face a disaster, and this is no different. they're putting in long, long hours, and i thank them for their unselfish commitment. general, you can be proud of the men and women in the guard units across the state of illinois. the illinois emergency management agency has been in
touch with our office every single day. they are assessing the damage that has been done. they will measure that damage, and at the appropriate moment -- and i'm sure it will be soon -- will move forward with our congressional delegation to ask for federal disaster status and federal disaster assistance. that is something that i think will definitely be needed and is appropriate for the magnitude of this challenge. i'll work with my colleague, senator kirk, who visited just last week in this region. we're going to work together in a bipartisan way to make sure that our state and the people who are suffering under these flooding conditions have a chance to recover, get back to their homes and back to their businesses and back to work. madam president, i'd like consent that the statement i'm about to make is in a separate part of the congressional record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: we had a historic vote in the united states senate last december, madam president, on the dream act. senator harry reid, the majority leader, promised that we would bring this measure for consideration on the floor of the senate. some people on both sides of the aisle said it's a bad idea,
don't do it, but he kept his word and i'm glad he did. we called it at three republican votes and we fell short. oh, we had a majority. it seems like we always have a majority when we call this bill, but because of the threat of the republican filibuster, we needed 60 votes, and we didn't reach the 60 votes necessary. 55 senators, a bipartisan majority, voted for the dream act, and i've reintroduced it today. by way of background, this is a simple piece of legislation, but it's one that affects thousands of people across america. it came to my attention ten years ago when a korean american woman called me and -- in my chicago office and told me she had a problem. she had come to the united states about 18 years before and brought her little girl with her. she had raised a family. she was now a naturalized citizen. the children who were born in the united states were citizens, but her older daughter was in a different status, and her older daughter was a special person. her older daughter was a concert
pianist who had been accepted at the juilliard school of music in new york, the best. and as she filled out the application form and they asked for her citizenship, she turned to her mom and she said u.s.a., right? and her mom said, you know, we never filed any papers for you. so the little girl said what should we do? her mom said we ought to call durbin. so they called my office, thinking i could solve this, and i found out the awful truth. our laws currently say the only recourse for that little girl who came here at the age of 2, who grew up in the united states, going to school here, saying the pledge of allegiance to our flag every morning, singing the only national anthem she knew, speaking the only language she knew under our law could never be a united states citizen and had to leave our country. what's wrong with this? well, it's unfair, that's what's wrong. at 2 years of age, she had no voice in the decision of her family to come here, and she had done everything right. and all she was asking for, all she continues to ask for is a
chance to be part of the only country she has ever known, a country she dearly moves. the dream act gives young people that chance. it says you can have a chance if you graduate high school, have no criminal record involving anything of a serious nature, if you were prepared to go through and prove that you have been in the united states, came before the age of 16, been here at least five years, then you'll have a chance to apply. and if you apply, you have two ways that you can reach legal status in our country, serve in our military or complete at least two years of college. for thousands of young people across america, this is the only way to get them out of their current situation. we just had a press conference with senator harry reid and senator bob menendez as well as senator blumenthal of connecticut to reintroduce this dream act. at that press conference was a young woman who told her story,
and like thousands of others, it's a compelling personal story. her name is tolu olapumi. she was born in nigeria and brought to the united states as a child. she graduated her high school with honors. she was awarded a full scholarship to one of the nation's top universities. in college, she was a leader, a peer counselor, a resident assistant, a volunteer at an abused woman's shelter and a research analyst in the department of engineering. tolu received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering in 2002, but she has never been able to work one day as a chemical engineer in america because she is undocumented. she cannot leave this country because she couldn't return. she can't get a job in this country because she is undocumented. her whole life is focused on america, and she is asking for a chance to be an engineer, to be a productive part of america, to move us forward as a nation.
the dream act would give her that chance. when we introduce the bill today, we have 32 original cosponsors. we're hoping for more. the chair of the judiciary and homeland security committee and all ten democratic members of the judiciary committee. i want to thank the lead sponsors over in the house, howard berman of california, luis gutierrez of illinois and ileana ros-lehtinen of florida. thanks to their leadership of last year, the house passed the dream act. and i want to especially thank the president. as a senator and my colleague from illinois, he was a cosponsor of this bill. he has been a strong supporter ever since. he never fails to mention the dream act in his conversations with america about immigration. yesterday, he said these are kids who grew up in this country, love this country and know no other place as home. the idea that we should punish them is cruel and it makes no sense. we are a better nation than
that. the president's right. this is a matter of simple justice. thousands of immigrant students in america were brought here as children. it wasn't their decision to come here, but they grew up here and they called it home. the fundamental premise of the dream act is an american premise. we don't hold children responsible for the wrongdoings of their parents. these young people don't want a free pass. they don't want amnesty. all they want is a chance to earn their place in america. that's what the dream act would give them. the dream act would strengthen our national security, making thousands of young people eligible to serve. that's why the department of defense and secretary gates support it. in fact, the secretary said there is a rich precedence supporting the service of noncitizens in the u.s. military. the dream act represents an opportunity to expand this pool to the advantage of military recruiting and readiness. madam president, the first casualty in the war in iraq was an hispanic who was not a
citizen of the united states. he wasn't even a permanent resident of the united states, but he had volunteered, served his country and gave his life. i think that shows the level of commitment these young people have to this great nation. a recent study at ucla found that allowing the dream act to pass would put so many productive young people into our economy. they will generate jobs, they will build businesses, they will help our economy grow. i want to salute in your home state of new york, madam president, mayor michael bloomberg who has spoken out in support of the dream act and said they are just the kind of immigrants we need to help solve our unemployment problem. some of them will go on to create new small businesses and hire people. it's senseless for us to chase out the home-grown talent that has the potential to contribute so significantly to our society. when you take a look at the supporters of the dream act, they have such diverse backgrounds. they include business leaders like rupert murdoch and the c.e.o.'s of companies like
microsoft or pfizer. now, there are some who oppose the dream act and argue that we need to enhance border security first. i can certainly make the argument, as the president did yesterday, that we have done extraordinary things, more than doubling the number of people at the border, adding technical devices to detect people who are trying to cross, using drones and building fences. we have gone as far as i think i can imagine, but i am open -- i have told a republican senator this morning, i am open to any reasonable suggestion to make the border safer. but i say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, if we show good faith in border enforcement, can you join us by showing good faith in helping to pass the dream act? i don't think that's an unreasonable exchange. i am open to their ideas, i hope that they're open to the idea of the dream act. i also have to say that many of the young people who are affected by this have been dramatically positive in their
contribution to america. there are restrictions in the dream act that prevent abuse. the dream act students would not be eligible for pell grants or other federal grants, which means they're going to pay more to go to school. dream act students will be subject to tough criminal penalties for fraud, including a prison sentence of up to five years. no one is eligible for the dream act unless they arrive in the united states at least five years before the bill becomes law, and there is no exception and no waiver. also, the dream act specifically includes a one-year application deadline. an individual would be required to apply for conditional nonimmigrant status within one year of obtaining a high school degree or g.e.d. or within one year of when the bill becomes law. this is not an amnesty. many of the occasions i have come to the floor to tell the personal stories of the people who are involved. their lives speak more eloquently than anything i can say on the floor. let me tell you about nelson and john magdalino.
they are brothers who came to the united states from venezuela when nelson was 11 and john was 9. they were both honor students at lakeside high school in atlanta, georgia. this is a picture of nelson at graduation. john, his brother, served with distinction in the air force junior officer reserve corps. he was the fourth highest ranking officer in 175-officer cadet unit and commander of the air honor society. here is a picture of john in his rotc uniform from high school. now, both john and nelson are honor students at georgia tech university, a great school. it's one of the most selective engineering schools in america. nelson, who is now 21, is a junior. he is a computer engineering major with a 3.6 g.p.a.
john, 18, is a freshman. he is a biomedical engineering major with a 4.0 g.p.a. let me ask you, can we afford to lose these two young people? well, i guess we could, but at great expense because their talent, their energy, their determination to make a contribution to america can make us a better nation. i don't think they're returning to venezuela, a country that they've never called home, is going to be good for the united states. john david bunning wrote me a letter about his nephew. they would be able to give back so much to our country if they're allowed to stay. i'm overwhelmed in my pride in them and how they flourished under these circumstances. i have two young sons, their uncle wrote, and i teach them about the incredible history of the united states and the way that our country can address wrongs committed in its name and come out of the process even stronger. please help us. nelson and john asked the
department of homeland security to stop their deportation proceedings. after i received the uncle's letter, i asked them to reconsider this case. the department decided to grant a stay to nelson and john to allow them to continue their education. that was clearly the right thing to do. some criticized the obama administration for granting this kind of deferral action to a small number of dream act students much but this is exactly what the bush administration did and i want to commend president george bush who was steadfast and consistent in his support of immigration reform. it is a waste of limited resources to deport two fine engineering students from the united states and it's entirely consistent with the law to grant them deferred action. let me tell you about another student, pedro padroza. he was brought from chicago to mexico when he was 5 years old. graduated from saint agnes
catholic school. he was an honor student at 1 of the best prep schools in chicago much he's now a student in new york, madam president, at cornell university in ithaca. his goal is to become a teacher. do we need teachers with his qualities? you bet we do. not just in new york and illinois, but all across america. unfortunately pedro is in doe por taition proceedings. he was riding a bus when immigration arrested him. he asked the department of homeland security to grant him a stay and i hope they will. it makes no sense to send someone like pedro who has so much to contribute to a country that he barely remembers. he wrote me a letter, mexico is not only unfamiliar to me, but leaving the u.s. means leaving everything and everyone i know. i hope that i can earn a future in the u.s. for as long as i'm here. even if i have no choice but
leave for mexico, i would try to adjust my status and return to the place i consider home, the united states of america. the last charity want to show su steve lee. this is his photograph. his parents brought him to the united states when he was 11 years old. he's a student at the city college of san francisco where he is majoring in nursing. he wrote a letter. he said, my dream is to become a registered nurse and be a public health advocate. i want to raise awareness about preventive care and other health care issues. i'm well on my way to achieving that dream. by passing the dream act, i'll be able to achieve these goes and contribute to the growing health care industry. so can we use more health care professionals? you bet we could. nurses? we need a lot of them. in fact, the united states imports thousands of foreign nurses each year into this country because we just don't have enough. unfortunately steve lee is also
in deportation proceedings. his case is especially complicated because while his parents are chinese, he was born in peru, so he could be deported back to peru where he knows no one and has no family members. senator feinstein asked the department of homeland security to consider his case. they've given him a temporary stay for now. madam president, i first introduced the dream act 10 years ago. since then, i met so many immigrant students who would qualify for it. when i first brought this bill up, i used to have meetings in chicago and after the meetings, without fail, there would be someone waiting for me outside. sometimes in the dark of night they'd be standing by my car. they were always young and most of them had tears in their eyes. and they'd say to me senator durbin, please pass the dream act, it's my life. times have changed. 10 years of effort, even passing it with majority, hasn't
resulted in this becoming a law because of the republican filibuster. times have change to the point where the dream act students are now stepping up and saying, here we are. this is who we are. we're not going to hide in the shadows anymore. when we debated that bill on the floor of the senate last dews, the galleries were filled with students wearing graduation gowns and caps. waiting, praying for the vote. and it failed. they left, many of them crying, went downstairs, and i met with them. and they couldn't have felt worse. they just don't know where to turn. they're being rejected by the only country they've ever known, the only place they ever called home. you i said to them, i'm not giving up on you, don't give up on me. we're going to keep working on this. we reintroduced the bill today. i thank my colleagues who already cosponsored. i urge and plea with others who have not for simple justice and fair necessary, give these young people a chance. that's all they're asking for. madam president, i yield the
floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: madam president, before i make my own remarks, let me just express my great appreciation to senator durbin of illinois for his many years of leadership on this. i'm very proud to be a cosponsor of his legislation and i look forward to passing this bill. i'm reminded of the story in the bible of joshua and jerhico. it was not the first time around that jerhico that the horns of joshua and his army brought down the walls, if i recall my bible correctly, it was seven times around those walls before they came tumbling down. but tem be down is what -- tumble down is what they did and i look forward to joining the joshua of this crusade to go around those walls as long as it takes until we get the dream act
passed. i'm here on a different topic today, madam president. i'm here to call for the end of the $4 billion in giveaways that taxpayers are providing to big oil companies every year. at a time of skyrocketing gas prices and of record oil company profits and of difficult decisions about where and how to cut the federal deficit, we should not be providing big oil with expensive and unnecessary taxpayer handouts. gas prices nationwide are averaging $3.96. up over $1 from a year ago. in my home state of rhode island the average price per gallon is now over $4. these rices are putting a significant -- prices are putting a significant dent in family budgets across the country. in the last 50 years prices in real terms have only been this high twice. in 1981, after the oil crises,
and in parts of 2007 and 2008. high gas prices not only increase the cost of driving, but they leave families with less to spend on other basic necessities and they ripple through the economy as gas guzzling buss, strained school district and public transportation budgets, food prices increase from trucking costs and throughout wherever transportation is a factor it raises costs for american consumers. the current price spike could not have come at a worst time. when gas prices last peaked in july 2008, unemployment nationally was 5.8%. now unemployment nationally is 8.8% and it's even higher in many states. in my home state, rhode island, we are still struggling under a staggering 11% unemployment rate. i recently heard from a constituent, tony, in wakefield, rhode island, about the impact
that rising gas prices have had on his wallet. he said, we have few options to offset the higher pricing and, thus, much less to spend. gas prices are forcing individuals like tony to make difficult choices about what to cut out of the family budget. yet, even as families are struggling, oil companies are, once again, reaping record profits. here are the earnings numbers that the oil companies recently announced for this quarter. cono co philips earned a first-quarter profit of $3 billion. up 44% from the period last year. chevron earned $6.2 billion, a 36% increase in profit. royal dutch shell earne earned $6.3 billion, a 30% increase in profit. b.p. earned $7.1 billion, a 17%
increase in profit. and the big one, exxonmobil, earned a profit in one-quarter of $10.7 billion, a 69% increase from last year in quarterly profit. these companies combined for a total profit of $33.3 billion in the first-quarter. that is $370 million per day or more than $250,000 in profit every minute. i've probably been speaking for at least four minutes, so they've made a million bucks. there's a direct correlation between how much consumers pay at the pump and how much oil companies rake in. as gas prices climbed from 2002 to 2008, so did profits. when gas prices fell in 2009,
down went profits. and, sure enough, as gas prices climb again to over $4 per gallon, oil profits are up sharply. with people in rhode island and across the country being forced to tighten their budgets and with the federal government working to reduce our deficit, it is all the more frustrating to read about these taxpayer subsidized sky-high profits. at the very least when we're looking at cutting head start, for instance, we should not be wasting $4 billion per year in precious taxpayer dollars to help these big oil companies earn higher profits. they're doing wonderfully well on their own. so i am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the close big oil tax loopholes act to end some of these egregious subsidies for the big five oil companies. to highlight a few, the proposal
would repeal subsidies to oil companies for producing oil overseas. it would repeal a deduction that can often eliminate federal taxes for oil companies. and it would repeal the head scratching classification of oil companies as manufacturers, which you a lows them to -- allows them to take a tax credit aimed at getting our manufacturing industry back on its feet. it is time to close these loopholes and make sure oil companies are paying their fair share to help us lower our deficit. i'd like to ask unanimous consent to enter into the record an op-ed from jacqueline shave of oceana in the providence journal calling on congress to end these handouts. the presiding officer: without objection. whow whow i called on president obama to -- whow whow i called on president obama to release some of the oil stored in the nation's strategic petroleum reserve. history has shown releasing some of this oil in the mark can have a short-term impact on prices.
when george h.w. bush issued that he was authorizing a draw down in 1991, oil prices fell by $10 a barrel the next day. there's not much we can do to reduce oil prices in the near term, but this action could bring some relief to american consumers. mr. whitehouse: we must clamp down on excessive oil sperks. speculation, i proposed a to cut one-third of the funding for the commodity trading commission. the commission is responsible for cracking down on illegal speculative activity that artifically inflates the price of oil. we need to make sure that wall street is not hurting middle-class families. we should not be taking this cop off that beat. i'm joining senators cantwell and wyden in sending a letter calling on the commission to
impose the position limits on oil trading that were required by the dodd-frank wall street reform bill. this deadline has passed and the commission should act swiftly to protect consumers. i'm glad that president obama has directed an investigation into the role of speculation in our current gas prices. in the long run, we must invest in electric vehicles. alternative fuels, public transit, high-speed rail, and freight rail. each of these transportation methods can significantly reduce our reliance our oil in the transportation sector. indeed, moving freight by rail is three times more fuel efficient than by truck. if we don't take long-term action, these price spike that's we're seeing now are going to keep on coming. we've seen them before and we will see them again.
as president obama said, the u.s. keeps going -- quote -- "from shock to trance on the issue of energy security. rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again. let's not hit the snooze button after this one. let's take the long-terp action necessary to get our country off of foreign oil. but in the mean time, let's work together to end the unnecessary and costly $4 billion giveaway to these highly profitable oil companies and promote instead long-term solutions to move us off oil and to protect american consumers from the harmful price shocks they are now experiencing. i would leave with this question: can the deficit be at once the most important challenge facing our nation as
mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i would ask stob able to speak in morning business for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, a headlining in the "hill" today reads -- quote -- "budgets everywhere but in the a single one has the votes to pass." close quote. well, that's not exactly correct. in reality, there is only one
budget that has been presented, publicly debated, worked on in committee, shared with the american people, and passed on the floor, and one has, and that is the budget of the republican house. paul ryan led the fight on that, and it is a courageous, serious budget that would restore fiscal sanity and prosperity to this nation. it deals with a short-term funding crisis and long-term stability of our financial system. by -- we had another budget presented. that was presented by president obama. it was an irresponsible budget. the budget presented by president obama to the senate -- it's about this thick, required by law, the president, to submit one every year, has some 500 people on this staff in the
budget office that helps prepare that -- that budget analyzed by the congressional budget office, our independent group of analy analysts, was found to not reduce the debt path we're on but to actually increase the debt over ten years more than would occur based on the congressional budget office baseline we're already on. substantially, $2 trillion more. it had tax increases in it too. this is not a responsible budget. it was never received responsibly in the senate, not by the independent commentators. they all said it failed to do the job that we have to do. and i have to say by contrast to the house, there still is no senate democratic budget. a budget is set up to be passed
by simple majority. the majority party has the responsibility -- and always does; sometimes meet it, sometimes not -- to present a budget. so no action has even been scheduled in the budget committee. no plan has been shared with the american public and no resolution has been brought up for a vote. in fact, it has been 742 days since the senate passed a budget. two years. so the democratic-led senate has missed the statutory deadline of april 15 to produce a budget for the second year in a row. in fact, as a statutory requirement, the committee starts its work by april 1. we haven't begun it yet now, well into may. so is there any wonder that this country is in a financial crisis, that we're not containing spending when we
don't even have a budget, we didn't even bring one up to the floor last year? majority leader reid chose not to bring the budget, a budget to the floor for debate, even attempt to pass a budget. so we are in the middle of a fiscal crisis. there is no doubt that the single greatest threat to america at this point in time is the financial situation we're in. this year we will spend, by september 30, moving on to that day, $3.7 trillion. we'll bring in in revenue, $2.2 trillion. 40 cents of every dollar we're spending this year is borrowed. it's an unsustainable path, as
every expert has told us in the budget committee, where i'm ranking republican there. we've heard witness after witness, democrat and republican. the president's own debt commission tell us we're on an unsustainable path. mr.er -- mr. erskine bowles, the man chosen by president obama to head the fiscal commission president obama himself established, told us that along with a loan simpson, his cochairman, that this nation has never faced a more predictable financial crisis. we're heading right to it. it's going to hammer us. not to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. if we don't get off this course the bond markets are going to revolt. we're going to have a serious financial crisis of some kind
that's not going to be good for this economy. when asked such a crisis could occur, mr. bowles said two years; maybe a little less, maybe a little more. alan simpson said "i think it could be one year." these are independent people who love america. they're warning us we need to take action now. and the president's budget simply doesn't get it. the american people are not happy with us. they think we're not meeting our responsibilities. are they right? they hammered a lot of big spenders in the last election. were they right? i totally believe that they're right. i totally am of the view there
is no way this country should be in the debt situation we are in. it should never ever, ever have happened. i opposed a lot of this spending. i'd like to think i was more vigorous than most in warning against it, but i don't think i've done enough. there's no reason we're spending -- we're borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar we spend. it threatens our future. we will double the entire debt of our country in four years under the president's watch. when he leaves office, completes his four-year term, he will have doubled the entire debt of america, and we're on a course, it continues to be dangerous. now as we know, budget chairman, senator conrad, has been meeting privately with his democratic caucus. it's been in the press, to try
to finally bring some sort of budget forward. and the democrats apparently have been unable to do so tpr-rbgs reports we see -- to do so, from reports we see because the big spenders in their caucus cannot support a plan that would actually get the job done and put us on a sound financial path, and they can't produce a plan that will withstand public scrutiny apparently, that the american people would support. so they have a difficult problem. this was shown as reported in "the hill" because chairman conrad, who i think served on the debt commission, i believe fully understands the danger this country faces. he's repeatedly acknowledged that. i really respect senator
conrad's insight into the challenges this country faces. but apparently his proposal which, i assume, was going to be somewhat better than president obama's failed to win the support of his conference and of senator bernie sanders, who is an open and gutsy senator, who's open and about what he believes, but who has described himself as a socialist and is the senate's most powerful advocate for bigger government. he's a member of the budget committee. the reason senator sanders' vote became important waus because the -- was because the democrats have apparently been working to pass a budget through committee without republican votes. they don't expect to get
republican votes. and the committee only has one more democrat than republicans, so the chairman needs senator sanders' vote if he wants to get the budget out of committee. so here's an excerpt from "the hill" -- quote -- "reid said senator conrad presented to the democratic caucus a 50-50 split when asked about the preferred ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. conrad has moved his budget proposal to the left in order to gain the support of senator bernie sanders, an outspoken progressive on the budget panel." close quote. you know, "progressive" is a new word they're using now for big-government types. they think they want to take more money from the american people because they believe they know how to better spend it than the american people who earned it. they want to take it and spread it around the way they want to spend it. well, this is a remarkable turn of events, i've got to say.
it's particularly stunning because the president's budget repudiated for its dramatic levels of spending and taxes, claimed that there was a three to one ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes. we cut spending $3 for every one tax hike is what the president said. chairman conrad has indicated that would have been his choice; he praised that. and he claims he favored that same ratio. i don't think that's necessarily a good ratio. i think we need to reduce spending more than that. taken literally, what this means is that senator conrad has in a fundamental respect moved his plan to the left of the president and the fiscal commission, which also proposed a plan that actually did reduce spending $3 for every $1 in tax
increases, or pretty close to that, pretty fairly in their numbers without gimmicks. came close to achieving that, not quite but came close to. the president's budget was so gimmicked that it really did not achieve $3 in spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases. it did not, wasn't correct for him to say that. it is important to note that the president and the fiscal commission used a baseline which assumes tax rates will go up. fairly analyzed those plans rely much more heavily on taxing than those ratios indicate, as i said, and the fear that the composition of this new democratic budget proposal may not even meet the 50-50 plan they have said. the others haven't in terms of taxes and spending cuts.
so the merits of this 50-50 split between savings and taxes is both a question of philosophy and economics. philosophically the american people do not want washington to continue raising taxes to pay for larger and larger spending. american families should not be punished for the sins and excess of washington. according to the c.b.o., we're going to spend $45 trillion over the next ten years. the senate democratic plan, which no one is likely to see until after the committee meets -- that's what we've been told. we won't see it until it's plopped down at the beginning of the committee markup where amendments are supposed to be offered, at least soon thereafter. their own plan, at least from what we read about it, says it will cut or save just $2
trillion over -- out of $45 trillion over the next ten years. the american people know there's much, much more we can and must do to bring this government under control and to achieve real balance in this country. balance. what kind of balance, between raising taxes and cutting spending 50-50? no. i tell you the balance we need. we need a balance that respects the american people, that reduces the growth in spending and wealth taken by washington and allows it to be kept by the american people who earned it. now, there's also a question of economics. our committee has conducted an exhaustive survey of available research which conclusively shows that deficit-reduction plans that rely equally on saving money, reducing spending, and raising taxes are far less successful and result in far
weaker economic growth than those plans which rely on cutting spending. we will release a white paper very soon that will share these findings with my colleagues and with the country. it's very important that we understand this. what history is showing to us is that when you reduce spending, you get more growth and more prosperity than increasing spending and increasing taxes. here is what some of the -- is one example of the many studies that we analyze and that will be released soon. this is a goldman sachs study by their analyst ben broadbent and kevin daley. the report resulted from a cross national study of fiscal reforms that -- quote -- "in a review of
every major fiscal correction in the oecd" -- that's the organization of economic cooperation and development. that is the world's most developed economists. "since 1975 we find that decisive budgetary adjustments that have focused on reducing government expenditure have, one, been successful in correcting fiscal imbalances. two, typically boosted economic growth. and, three, resulted in a significant bond and equity market outpeformance. in other words, the stock market and the bond market improved, and both of those are a bit shaky now after some rebound. tax-driven fiscal -- tax-driven, that means tax increases, fiscal adjustments by contrast